Cambodian Khmer Fusion Wedding | Old Timer’s Cabin
Bryan & Vesna’s wedding was my first experience with a Khmer fusion wedding and they mixed traditional Cambodian & Vietnamese ceremonies in with the traditional Western wedding. It was a super fun day full of colour! We had a little bit of bad luck with trying to do wedding party photos from all the locations being full for festivals to fire alarms going off to evacuate us from the University but it all turned out beautifully! You might remember Bryan & Vesna from the awesome secret proposal we photographed too!
From the Couple:
Where are you going for your honeymoon? We already went – two week road trip to the Southern USA to enjoy sun, rollercoasters, Southern comfort food, and Texas BBQs! (Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas)
About the ceremonies:
Cambodian ceremonies traditionally take 2-3 days – ours was abbreviated down to a few hours that included some of the major traditions. The bride may have up to ten dress changes, I did five (actually never wore the sixth one), plus the Vietnamese tea ceremony and the white wedding (so I guess that’s seven!). The men wear traditional sarongs. The outfits are meant to be colourful, and the bride is adorned with gold and jewels.
Groom’s Processional (Parade) and Presenting the Dowry
The groom and his entourage comes bearing gifts to the bride’s home (aka the cabin). Upon arrival at the home, gifts are presented to the bride’s family, parents of the bride and groom were honoured, and rings were exchanged. The number of gifts indicates the wealth of the groom – the trays of meats, fruits, pastries, drinks, and desserts are given in pairs.
Hair Cutting Ceremony
The symbolism of this ceremony is to cleanse the couple of the past and help them prepare for their new life together. Family and guests pretend to cut the bride and groom’s hair and spray perfume on them. Traditionally, the bridge and groom wear outfits of gold and yellow. Retrieving the gold or silver rings is to signify that the couple will have a prosperous life.
Passing the Blessings (Seven Rotations)
Married guests sit around the bride and groom as the sacred flame is rotated seven times around the new couple. The smoke of the flame, however, is sacred enough to protect them from all evils if they are sincerely committed to each other. Family members who receive the candle motion their hands over the flame to guide the smoke of the sacred flame over the bride and groom. This symbolizes the passing of blessings or luck to the new young couple.
Knot Tying Ceremony
While the bride and groom’s wrists are tied with the blessing strings, the following song is sung: “We tie, we tie three strings to each wrist of our children. We wish for true happiness and success to this couple, who will always be together like wet grass seeds. We tie your left wrist to make you remember your parents. We tie your right wrist to make you carry on the family lineage and traditions.” At the end, guests throw white seeds traditionally at the couple (we used flower petals). It is considered lucky for the bride and the groom if they leave the red strings on for as long as they can.
The bride and groom feed each other fruits like the banana. The guests cannot eat until the bride and groom have eaten breakfast. It’s meant to be playful and teasing the couple with games.
The bride and groom, in front of their guests, will serve tea to their parents. Each parent will then give advice about marriage and family to the couple.
Thank you to Chelsey for being my awesome second shooter for this wedding!